Hanging a Bell on the Door for Your Dog to Let You Know It Needs to Go Out

Help your puppy communicate his needs by hanging a bell on the door.
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Housebreaking your dog takes lots of time and patience, on his part and yours. One of the hardest parts is figuring out a signal that your dog can use to let you know he needs to go outside. Even if your dog knows he's not supposed to potty in the house, it may happen if he can't figure out how to tell you he needs out. A bell is a great way to teach him to communicate with you.

Step 1

Choose a bell that has a clear, loud ring that you can hear easily, and that is also easy to ring with a simple nudge. Parrot toy and fishing pole bells work well.

Step 2

Hang the bell from the knob of the door your dog will be using, making sure it is low enough for your dog to easily bat with his paw.

Step 3

Place your dog on the floor in front of the bell just before you take him outside to use the restroom.

Step 4

Lift the dog's paw gently and push the bell with his paw to make it ring.

Step 5

Open the door immediately and take your dog outside.

Step 6

Wait for him to relieve himself and then give him a treat or praise.

Step 7

Take the dog back inside and put him in his crate or a contained area after a few minutes of play time.

Step 8

Repeat steps 3-7 for several days or several weeks, depending on your dog's age and ability to learn, making sure he rings the bell every time he goes outside to potty. A young puppy, under 4 months old, may take several weeks to associate the bell with going outside to potty, while an older dog might take only a few days. Move on to step 9 once your dog is nearly housebroken or starts trying to ring the bell on his own before you lift his paw.

Step 9

Set your dog in front of the door when it is time for him to potty and wait for him to ring the bell with his paw.

Step 10

Open the door and take him outside immediately.

Step 11

Reward your dog with a treat or praise once he has gone to the bathroom and take him back inside.

Step 12

Repeat steps 9-11 until your dog is consistently asking to go outside by going to the door and ringing the bell without being prompted.


  • Don't give your dog a treat or praise if he goes outside and doesn't relieve himself or you could accidentally teach him to ring the bell to go outside and get treats.


  • Put your puppy on a regular bathroom schedule to speed up housebreaking. He should go outside at least once an hour when he is awake, and also right after eating, drinking or taking a nap.

  • Respond immediately any time your dog rings the bell on his own so he learns that ringing the bell will allow him to go outside to use the restroom.

Items You Will Need

  • Bell
  • Cord
  • Dog treats (optional)